HE'S played his share of Group 10 Rugby League finals football for St Pat's, but this Saturday when Bailey Waldron laces up his boots for a preliminary final it will not only be for a different team, but in a different code.
With Group 10's senior grades cancelled in season 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Waldron made the switch to play for the Bathurst Giants in the AFL Central West competition.
His girlfriend Elise Gullifer, who plays in the Giants' women's side, convinced him to make the switch as the men's tier one team was short on numbers.
It was a tough introduction as the Giants lost four of their first five games, but Waldron and his team-mates kept improving, found more wins, built momentum and finished the regular season sitting in second.
"At the start of the year we were running low on numbers, a couple of football boys came across and a lot of the younger under 17s were playing up. So Kenno [coach Mark Kennedy] said at the start of the year that it would be a good year to develop for the future," Waldron said.
"But we've all - especially the younger guys who know the game a bit more - stepped up, filled big boots.
Everyone started turning up to training happy and really into it and we just kept that momentum going.Bailey Waldron
"At the start of the year we were coming off three straight losses and we all had our heads down and everyone didn't really believe.
"But we got one win up against Orange and we just kept the momentum going. Everyone started turning up to training happy and really into it and we just kept that momentum going."
While Waldron is well versed with the skills of rugby league - he played for the Western Rams when in under 18s - this season has thrown new challenges at him.
Some areas are still a work in progress, but his tackling skills and defensive pressure have been a highlight.
"That's what I am mainly there for, to put the pressure on other teams," he said.
"Probably the match fitness is the biggest difference, the continuous running and the fact you can get tackled from pretty much anywhere, like from behind, you're not always front on with a defender.
"Kicking, I probably don't do it as good as most of the boys that have been doing it for ages, but I do it alright, but hand-balling I'm still getting the hang of it a bit, I can't do long ones.
"When I turned up to the first training session all the boys got around me and even the boys coming up from the younger ages were helping me out."
Standing between the Giants and a spot alongside the Bathurst Bushrangers in the grand final is the Dubbo Demons.
But the Giants have beaten the Demons twice in the last three weeks - by 23 points at George Park then by 32 points in Dubbo last Saturday. That gives Waldron and his team-mates confidence.
"It was Giants' first win in Dubbo ever, so it was good to be a part of that ... it gave us a real confidence boost and now Dubbo has got to travel down to Bathurst and play us at home. I think we are running into the game with a full head of steam," he said.
Opening bounce at George Park 1 is at 2.30pm Saturday.